While taking a stroll on a Sunday evening with my girls we came upon this scene. I struggled to get a composition but eventually settled for this. I was in awe of the light that shone on the city, coupled with the contrast in colours with the foreground, I was smitten before I clicked the shutter.
I was halfway through shooting this panorama when the girls who had gone on ahead came running back to me, they had seen a much better spot for me to photograph from. I hurriedly finished off this shot and made haste to capture the new location. I did manage to get that shot and will showcase it in an upcoming blog post.
So until next time kia ora.
I am really not a fan of photographing landscapes in the midday sun, in my opinion waterfalls are best captured on overcast days when the light is diffused and even across the scene. There are times when you have to travel 2 hours, kids in tow, to get to the waterfall, in times like that you don't have much of an option.
Morokopa Falls is almost in the middle of nowhere, in fact as you take the windy road from Waitomo leading there you are informed that you need to fill up with gas as there is no fuel facilities for a long way.
For something that is so off the beaten tourist track it is a wonder. The falls are 30m high and are listed as one of the must see waterfalls in New Zealand. Once you find your way there the track to the falls is an easy 15 minute walk from the car park. I spent about half an hour photographing the waterfall and on the day the track down to the river was too wet to walk, so this is another that is on my list to go back to.
If you follow my work you will notice a trend that betrays my love for capturing water. I especially enjoy photographing waterfalls, I even have a list with a whole bunch of waterfalls in New Zealand that I need to shoot. This long weekend I managed to get to Whangarei and capture that waterfall that is just a few minutes drive from the centre of town. Despite be very close to town the waterfall is majestic and a must see if you are passing through town. The 1km loop walk is not a difficult walk and can easily be done in less than an hour.
The image reminds me a lot of Sir Peter Jackson's portrayal of Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Travelling through New Zealand it becomes clear why this country made for a good place to shoot the movies. This was a 5 image bracketed panorama with the longest exposure being 4s.
There are some places that leave you breathless at the sight of them. I have been to a few, most of them in this country. New Zealand is one of those places that no matter where you look there is always something to please the eyes. Most people say that the South Island is stunning, I have to agree but the North Island isn't too far behind. In fact I think most compare the two but that unfairly makes one think that the North Island is inferior, far from it, it's just different.
We took a 40 minutes drive out of Auckland heading west and this is what our eyes were greeted with. I cannot attempt a verbal description of Whatipu as no words would do it justice. Whatipu is an untouched bit of coastline on the north side of the Manukau Heads. Looking around one could be mistaken to the think this was a piece of Martian landscape although the presence of water would give it away.
We spent the afternoon there and I managed to capture this image as the tide receded, I am sure this will not be our last visit to the place. I certainly need more time to explore the area.
I have always considered myself a landscape and cityscape photographer. I guess this is because these were easy subjects to capture but since I have taken time to invest on learning I am more and more becoming passionate about photographing people. I am constantly looking for subjects to photograph and hone my craft. I am glad that my daughters are always willing subjects. One of our family walks resulted in today's image.
I also post this image on the occasion of Stephie's first day at school. We are amazed at how fast these kids grow. The fact that at some point doctors had ruled out any children at all makes our daughters special and a miracle in our eyes.
One thing I love about New Zealand is the plethora of walking tracks, some of the world's best walking tracks are on these two islands. As I stood at the start of this not so famous track at our local reserve I just felt like taking a walk that morning. Walking in the bush here is nothing like what I am used to. Growing up in Zimbabwe you had to be extra careful for the mamba or cobra that lurked in the grasses, New Zealand has no known land snakes (although I still think there has to be one somewhere).
The fact that you can walk anywhere an not fear that you may become some predator's dinner is awesome. I shot this image as a panorama and stitched it as a panorama but I just couldn't get myself to crop it to the 3:1 or 2.5:1 aspect that I am so fond of. I felt that doing that took away too much of the image.
Another view of our fabulous city. I shot this as I waited to shoot the fireworks display that I shared on this blog sometime back. This image is different because its not in the panoramic format that I have come to enjoy so much.
Mangaphue Natural Bridge
In the back roads of the Waikato region just beyond the famed Waitomo caves is a natural wonder like none that I have seen before. It's not something you see in the tourist brochures but that does not subtract from it's wonder. The Mangapohue Natrual Bridge is the remains of a cave system that collapsed leaving the arch that is the splendour that we see today. I didn't know what to expect when we visited the place but the sheer size of it blew me away.
I was glad that I had my panoramic gear and wide angle lenses and that I might be able to capture the cave, I learned very quickly that my equipment wasn't going to cut it. I eventually created a monster image, for those that are interested, this is a three, yes three level panorama about ten frames across . As is my usual workflow each images is a bracket so that means this images was composed of a total of .... wait for it 150 images!! (Insane I hear someone say?). Despite the gargantuan number of images the insanity of it is that I could fit the entire roof of the place in the image.
If you ever find yourself visiting driving through the Waikato then this place is a must see.
Auckland turns 175!!
26 January 2015
Today we get the day off here in Auckland to celebrate the city's 170th birthday. Last night Aucklanders were treated to a spectacular fireworks display. I was not quite sure which would be the best vantage point to see the display so we ended up going to a spot under the harbour bridge that I have become fond of.
In hindsight I should have done a bit more research because we couldn't see part of the display from our location. We almost moved when the police showed up complete with guns telling us there was a guy with a gun on the bridge and that we need to leave. A few minutes later the cops had the situation under control and we managed to get back to our spot to watch the display with probably over a hundred others.
Today I am sharing the first of a few fireworks images from last night. Enjoy.
Alone at the beach
There are some places that always seem to reward photography, Magazine Bay has been one such place for me. I love to go back there whenever I can mainly because its only a 20 minute drive from our house but also because there are so many pictures that are just waiting to be taken. My previous post was of the underside of the wharf shown in the image above. I am not sure which of the two I like more. It's like children, each is unique in their own special way and you end up loving them the same.
Of late I have been battling to shoot a particular spot in town, I have been there a few times and I haven't got a shot that I can be happy to share. I will keep at it and share the shot as soon as it is ready. This summer has produced some spectacular sunrises and sunsets, I keep regretting that I haven't been out there shooting as much as I would have liked. I hope to turn this around before the nice warm weather disappears.
To infinity and beyond
I have battled for a long time with whether or not to watermark my work. I have always been of the opinion that I take such a long time to compose a picture only to add a watermark which I think just distracts from the image itself. This past week I have had to just do it to try and protect my work. The good thing about the watermark is that it will not show up when a print is ordered.
One of the things I enjoy about photographing landscapes is that I get to experience the beauty of the locations I shoot, many of these are magical. I try to recreate what I saw on the day. The day I shot this image was one such magical day, the sun was rising on the right hand side of the image while on the left the cool colours of the night were diminishing producing this gorgeous pastel across the sky. I am particularly proud of this image, this one may end up finding a spot on a wall in our house soon.
This is Magazine bay just a short drive from the village of Maraetai, east of Auckland, New Zealand.
Posted on 2 January 2015
Happy New Year!! It's amazing how fast the last year has gone by, I look back on it and think how my photography has evolved. 2014 is the year that I started making a conscious decision to concentrate on making panoramic images. Its a lot more work making a panorama especially when you are blending all the shots but after the long hours working on the images I find a lot of satisfaction with the results.
Shooting panoramas comes with a lot of issues that you don't encounter when you shoot single frames. The image above is a case in point, I have been trying to shoot the Auckland Museum for ages and every time I came back with unacceptable images. The trick was to make a panorama that kept the building straight and also kept the water feature in the foreground straight as well. Photoshop just couldn't stitch the images the way I saw them in my minds eye.
As I have mentioned before an attribute that every outdoor photographer needs to have is never giving up and continually returning to re-shoot a scene. I finally got the shot I was looking for. One other tip on this location, don't attempt to shoot it during the day, there are always people about, I had to get up early in the morning to catch the sunrise but the bonus was that I had the place almost all to myself.
Posted on 20 December 2014
The Pohutukawa tree has been christened New Zealand's Christmas Tree because they usually come into full bloom in the lead up to Christmas. The bloom doesn't seem to last very long as I painfully learnt last year, when I was about ready to go out and capture the trees in bloom most of them had defaulted back to green leaves the only evidence of the pretty red flowers lay strewn on the ground. This year I was a bit more prepared. The image above is from a place called Magazine Bay (don't ask me why) a short distance from the coastal village of Maraetai. I really enjoyed capturing this scene although getting out of bed for this one was a lot harder than normal, in the end I am really glad I pushed myself to get out of bed and go and shoot.
I don't think I will post again till after Christmas. To all the people who have supported my work I this year I just wanted to say thank you. To those who have believed in me and encouraged me to carry on especially when I felt discouraged thank you so much. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas.
O Holy Night
Posted on 10 December 2014
I find it amazing how when Christmas comes around everything seems to shift like clockwork into the mood for Christmas. For many this season represents a time to take some time off and rest, for others time to spend time with family and for may a time for presents. For me this represents a time of remembering and celebrating the birth of Jesus, who whether or not you have trusted him to be your saviour or not, is arguably the most significant person in history.
Auckland neighbourhoods have been decked out in lights. The image above is of Uldale Place in Northpark, the entire street is a kaleidoscope of colour, even children's bicycles and cars have not been spared. I will be sure to go back thought Christmas season to capture more of this and other neighbourhoods.
I normally shoot panoramas in portrait and also bracket the images, this image was quite the opposite, I shot the images in a landscape then copped it and each frame was a single image and because I shot in RAW I managed to recover a significant amount of detail.
Posted 3 December 2014
The little village of Malakana is about 45 minutes drive north of central Auckland. What drew us to the village is the fame of its farmer’s market that is held every Saturday morning. After walking around the market for about an hour, we discovered that there was a walking track along the river that runs behind the farmers market.
Walking along the river you are greeted by this set of rapids that I don’t even think qualify to be classed as a waterfall. I couldnt resist . I shot a few images there only to discover when I got home that the images were un-useable.
So we made a plan to take a detour to Matakana on a trip from up north, the conditions were a lot better. The Matakana farmers market is worth a visit , with a variety of wares from arts and crafts to food and gardening stuff there is a deal for everyone there.
Good Morning Auckland
An early morning shoot on a wharf that is popular with fishermen. I have been meaning to shoot from this spot for a while now, I wasn't disappointed. I arrived to find a handful of fishermen unsuccessfully trying to catch a snapper or two and a fellow photographer. The ship in the port arrived as I was shooting this photo. The five minute drive to the port was so worth it and it culminated in the photo in last weeks post.
I am enjoying finding and photographing the many different cityscape perspectives of Auckland. This image is best viewed large, the amount of detail surprised me.
Till next time.
The ship, the shed and the cloud
I was out shooting a cityscape of Auckland at sunrise the other day and while I was busy shooting this cruise ship went by and headed for port. It added a great prop for the image I was shooting (that image is coming soon to a blog near you), then a thought struck me why don't I drive to the waterfront and see what else of this ship I can capture. I wasn't disappointed to have made the short drive, I came up with two decent images, today I am posting my favourite of the two.
The curvy building to the left you will have seen in my gallery, Shed 10 in the middle of the shot is where a lot of people gathered to watch the America's Cup yacht race, as I understand the shed holds a very important place in New Zealand yachting history.
The Sun Princess has a passenger capacity of 1998 passengers and a crew of 924 all housed in 1,011 cabins. It weighs a whopping 77,441 tons and is 261 metres long and 56 metres high amounting to a total of 15 decks.
As has become the norm this was a six image bracketed panorama.
Tracks to nowhere
Posted 6 November 2014
In photography persistence and patience are attributes one needs to succeed. I have been visiting the Auckland waterfront often and on many of those occasions I have tried to take this photo but the conditions just weren't right. A week ago I went out again an this time the light didn't disappoint.
I am told that years ago there used to be a tram that ran on these tracks but now that tracks have been filled with concrete and the trams are nowhere to be seen. Fortunately the area has some pretty decent restaurants and is as vibrant as ever.
There are still many more photographs to be taken at the waterfront but for now I hope you enjoy this one.